Pirates bury the ghost

2014-08-02 23:02

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With this 2-1 victory, Orlando Pirates buried the ghost of last season where they went four matches without beating SuperSport United in open play.

Former United players Daine Klate and Kermit Erasmus overturned a series of wasteful opportunities between them in the opening half to steer the Buccaneers into the semifinals of the R8?million winner-takes-all contest.

Pirates join Platinum Stars and Bidvest Wits who were the first two to qualify for the last four.

The teams started nervously, but the Buccaneers would have rued their many missed chances  tonight had they lost this encounter.

Erasmus fluffed four gilt-edged opportunities when the United defence was under siege.

In fact, the goal that Klate scored in the 33rd minute was initially delivered on the platter for Erasmus but the pint-sized striker missed and redeemed himself six minutes later with a clinical finish after he sprung the offside trap.

United never really threatened Pirates and only came to play in the closing quarter with some forceful moves that resulted in unforced errors in the Bucs defence.

United signalled their first real intentions only after the hour mark, but Pirates keeper Senzo Meyiwa denied Bradley Grobler from close range.

The Bafana Bafana reserve goalie was later beaten by David Mathebula after defender Rooi Mahamutsa failed to clear. The visitors drew confidence from this spell as more attempts at goal followed.

But it could have been a humiliation for coach Cavin Johnson’s side had Pirates defender Thabo Matlaba’s effort not come off the upright six minutes after the break. If there was a downside to Pirates’ play, it was the many chances that went begging, some of which a blind striker would have banged in.

Instead of embracing a positive start to the new season, coach Vladimir Vermezovic was left seething at the way in which his strikers shifted scoring responsibilities when they had the United defence on the ropes.

Amid wasteful play from his side, Vermezovic handed new signing Thabo QaIinge his debut, but there was no place for another acquisition, Issa Sarr, in the team as the former Platinum Stars midfielder?–?who featured in last weekend’s Carling Black Label Cup against Kaizer Chiefs?–?could not secure his work permit on time.

United unleashed former Pirates defender Michael Morton, Thato Mokeke and Clayton Daniels.

While Bucs await their opponent in the semis, they will open their Absa Premiership campaign against Moroka Swallows here on Saturday.

The semifinals?–?to be contested over two legs?–?will kick off on the weekend of August 16 and 17.

The winner between Chiefs and Mpumalanga Black Aces at FNB Stadium today will complete the MTN8 Cup semifinal line-up.

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